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Politics

Mississippi senators introduce Keep Our Communities Safe Act

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U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) this week helped introduce a bill to close the loophole—referred to as “catch and release”—that allows illegal immigrants, including those with criminal records, to remain in the United States.

The Keep Our Communities Safe Act (S.4370) would close the loophole that requires U.S. immigration authorities to release illegal immigrants who have not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months. The bill outlines specific situations by which the illegal immigrant can be deported instead of released back into communities around the country.

“Illegal immigration is occurring at the highest rate on record. If President Biden will not act to control rampant illegal border crossings, then Congress must do everything possible to deter them from happening,” Wicker said. “This act would take a critical step toward containing our border crisis by fixing our broken catch-and-release policy and beginning to reestablish the rule of law.”

“Under no circumstances should violent criminals be allowed to circumvent our laws and be released back into the United States. This bill is intended to protect our communities by eliminating the loophole known as ‘catch and release’ and ending the exploitation of the law,” Hyde-Smith said.

S.4370 would close the “catch and release” loophole that prevents the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from detaining non-removable immigrants beyond the current Supreme Court-mandated six months in these specific situations:

  • The alien will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;
  • The alien would have been removed but for the alien’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with the Secretary’s efforts to remove him;
  • The alien has a highly contagious disease;
  • Release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences;
  • Release would threaten national security; or
  • Release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.

“This legislation would close the ‘catch-and-release’ loophole, which puts law abiding citizens, local law enforcement officials and communities at risk,” said U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who introduced the measure. “Our bill will ensure that illegal aliens who have been found guilty of violent crimes and aggravated felonies are not able to remain in our communities. As the current law stands, an illegal alien with a criminal record is released back into the United States after six months if no other country accepts them for deportation. This bill is a commonsense solution and it’s time for it to become law.”

In addition to Wicker and Hyde-Smith, additional cosponsors include Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

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